The squad for the Australian Under-19 Jayco Gems has been announced as preparations ramp up for the FIBA World Championships in June.
Eighteen players have been named to take part in the selection camp running May 23-28, with a finalised group of 12 to be announced in the upcoming weeks.
Head Coach Paul Goriss is pleased with the talent he has to work with.
“We have a good mix of versatile players, emerging Opals and we have great depth at every position,” he said.
Just last week Goriss was able to get a look at some of those budding talents at the Australian Junior Championships where Eziyoda Magbegor, Anneli Maley and Chantel Horvat all shone.
At just 15 years of age, Magbegor already stands at 193 centimetres and it is her “length and athleticism” that has impressed Goriss.
Alongside Magbegor, Maley led Vic Metro to a gold medal at the Championships, capping off a stellar tournament with 22 points and an incredible 25 rebounds in the Final. Horvat was also remarkably consistent across the week, averaging 21 and 10.4 for Vic Country.
Joining the players who have been outstanding at a domestic level, are three players who have enjoyed promising stints in the USA with Alliyah Fareo, Kristy Wallace and Alicia Froling representing Louisiana State, Baylor University and Southern Methodist University (SMU) respectively.
In her debut season with SMU, Froling made the American Athletic Conference All-Freshman team. She finished 16th in scoring with an average of 11.5 points, recorded five double-doubles for the season with 7.2 rebounds per game and set an SMU Freshman record with 54 blocks.
Goriss was hesitant to look beyond the immediate future towards the World Championships.
“For now, it’s about the processes through the selection camps,” he said. “It’s the old cliché, we want to play to our strengths and not worry about what other sides are doing.”
However, Goriss is confident of the Gems chances.
“We’re not shying away. We want a medal and we think we’re good enough.”
Chloe Bibby (Vic), Kasey Burton (Vic), Madeleine Dennis (WA), Montana Farrah-Seaton (NSW), Alliyah Fareo (NSW), Alicia Froling (Qld), Ella Hellessey (Vic), Chantel-Anais Horvat (Vic), Eziyoda Magbegor (Vic), Anneli Maley (Vic), Mikayla Pirini (WA), Lauren Scherf (Vic), Alexandra Sharp (Vic), Demi Skinner (SA), Alanna Smith (Vic), Elizabeth Tonks (NSW), Tahlia Tupaea (NSW), Kristy Wallace (QLD)